NT - more than just beers, beers, beers!
Hiya Reading Ninjas, last weekend was one full of booky fun - it was Northern Territory Writers Festival! Proof that the NT is more than just beers, beers, beers... We have a little culture in there too. Being the ever diligent book dork that I am, I drove the 3 hrs to Darwin after work Friday and spent the weekend jumping from event to event, fitting in as much as possible and skipping some to just spend time chatting with authors.
So, for those of you who don't know Australia - NT is the 'last frontier'. It's the northern portion of Australia (well duh), primarily barren outback, with a tiny portion surrounding Darwin that is totally tropical... And if you've seen any Jimmy Rees videos in the last 2 years - the NT is all about the beers and not much else. And then the authors roll into town and the beer town becomes a tropical winter wonderland of words.
TALL TALES OF THE TERRIROTY - was an interesting panel discussion, basically about the fact that here in the NT you'll hear stories that will leave you with the belief that your leg is being pulled, all while being weirdly, Terrirotially, true. Whether it's an American aviator in WW2 who was blown up 3 times while in the NT (twice in 1 day), the highest bar in Australia... which could never be proven or disproven as no one really knows what the claim refers to in the first place or storing a giant crocodile in a carport for the ranger to collect because you have to go out... There are plenty of tales to be told in the Territory, and everyone is bizarrely true and told by a panel of ex-journalists.
The words 'vomitorious exploding cows' was uttered and will make their way into a Jakki Frances book in the near future.
I also caught up with Mel A Rowe (one of my fave Aussie authors) at the event and ended up skipping my next event - we spent the afternoon chatting books and author life over coffee in the Darwin museum cafe. Such a treat for me, as I almost never get to chat writing with anyone, especially an author whose books I love and who has the author life I'd love (full-time author selling well). We chatted about my writing, her writing, blogging, the far-reaching implications of the recent political changes in USA and a million other things. I left the cafe with a renewed purpose as a blogger and the ownership of gingerreadingninja.com domain name... Changes are coming my friends! Oh. and a job as Mel's proofreader for her next book - SQUEE!!!!
Saturday night found me at another event. Yep, you read that right, a book dork went out on a Saturday night - unexpected, I know. Thank goodness that midwinter in the NT is full of balmy tropical nights, because I spent the night sprawled on a rug, under the stars, the waves lapping the shore in the background, as a variety of writers, shared their work. We were treated to music and song, poetry, and the absolute highlight was Hannah Kent (acclaimed author of Burial Rights) reading the beginning of her new book Devotion... If the first pages I head are anything to go by, this will be another magnificent book by this softly spoken young author.
Sunday morning found me back at the museum cafe for breakfast on the deck and a little Jakki Frances time, logging in some words on a Xmas story I'm working on. Then the panel discussion on 'Commerical fiction', featuring Mel Rowe. This was an interesting discussion - with Mel a romance writer, Sean Guy - who writes almost anything from fiction to plays, and Sally Bothroyd, a crime fiction writer. It was so interesting to hear the differing experiences and points of view on publishing fiction, writing for fandom, and whether cosy mysteries are legally required to include knitting and a cat.
What can I say, it was a great weekend, talking books and hearing what others are working on... The Territory might be known for its beer culture but trust me, there's some real writer talent up here. It's an unexpected, underrated well of talent and the NT Writers Centre puts on a festival to rival those down south.